The discussion of onshore vs. offshore development continues.
While there are benefits to going offshore with your development needs–benefits such as lower cost and shorter development time–where you run into problems is, just because you can hire offshore developers to build new applications or enhance legacy systems at a lower cost, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful outcome.
Finding great software developers is like finding that great general contractor. There are many that claim to be qualified and they may have the education background to do the job, but ultimately how many successful projects have they completed? Are they available for consultation, can you meet them and see eye to eye? Do you have confidence in them and their assembled team of electricians, plumbers, and landscapers?
Here are a few things we think you should consider when thinking about taking your software development project offshore:
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Protecting intellectual property (IP) is vital when using an offshore developer to create custom-built software. There are many Far East countries that are notorious for not adhering fully to copyright and IP laws. This is especially concerning when dealing with any confidential data used in making your new software.
While breaches can occur anywhere in the world, it is less likely to happen in the US, where the laws are stricter and enforced more often.
Location, Location, Location
One of the key reasons why onshore outsourcing is almost always a better option is proximity. When your development team is somewhere between a car ride or a quick plane ride away from you, you’re able to meet with them in person as often as you want or need. Taking an international flight is neither convenient nor economical, which discourages the face-to-face interaction that, while not essential on a daily basis, can become critical if a project begins to veer off-course.
Time is a close relative of distance. In the US, you’re never more than four time zones ahead or behind your software team, so setting up calls or video conferences is simple for everyone. If you try the same thing between someone in Atlanta and a team in China, someone will be forced to stay up far past their bedtime.
The Language Barrier
Usually, the first problem realized with using an offshore software developer is the issue of language. Although a few folks on an offshore team might speak English, they may find it difficult to communicate with you using the technical terms and phrases necessary to getting you the software you want and need.
Unexpected, Additional Costs
When you’re looking at your software project solely from a cost perspective, sending the work offshore can be enticing. The cost of labor in the US is nearly four times higher than in China and India, for example. However, you have to ask yourself: does the lower cost make up for the language barrier, long distance, and lax IP protection laws?
The typical onshore software development team will consist of one project manager to act as the liaison between you and the developers, to relay important updates and information back to you, and to keep the team on task, on time, and on-budget. When you use an offshore developer, you’ll need to take into consideration the cost for additional project management resources, in the event the team isn’t as well-versed in the specific development process you’re using.
Onshore vs. Offshore
For some situations, outsourcing your software development project offshore makes sense. If you’re in the business of high-volume manufacturing, or if you’re testing products and not building something from the ground up, offshore development may be the right avenue to take. But, if you’re a US company looking to create a software solution from scratch, or you want to step outside of your comfort zone into new business territory, you should seriously consider finding a local software team. When you have the choice to work face-to-face with an experienced software development team, the question of offshore vs. onshore should be a no-brainer.
So, before you send out that next bid or hire a new developer, consider looking closer to home first. You may be surprised by the return on investment comparison between onshore and offshore, especially when quality and maintainability are considered. You really do get what you pay for.
If you are looking for an experienced, trusted, and onshore software development company, please feel free to reach out to the team at SOLTECH for any of your development needs!
Resource: Checklist For What To Consider When Creating Great Software